FAIRFIELD, CT (November 27, 2011) – The Sacred Heart men's basketball team saw a 15-point lead erased but bounced back with a 11-1 run late in the second half to put away the Brown Bears, 77-64, Sunday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. Junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) netted a team-high 16 points while sophomore Luis Montes (Brockton, MA) chipped in with 13 points, both scoring all their points in the second half to lift the Pioneers to 4-3 on the year.
The Bears (3-4) jumped out with the hot hand, making six of their first seven shots but would only lead by two, 15-13, in the games first six minutes. "Both halves, we started off slow, not playing as well as we should defensively", commented head coach Dave Bike. "We were ready on offense but that has got to get our attention. We need to be ready for both ends of the court." Coach Bike went to his bench and the Pioneer reserves responded, ripping off an 18-2 run over the next seven minutes.
Freshman Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) scored seven points on the rally, knocking down a pair of jumpers and a three. Fellow freshman Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) also drilled a three and senior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) gave the Pioneers a 31-17 lead with a put-back at 4:55. Glowiak would give the Pioneers their biggest lead of the afternoon converting on the break off a steal, 35-20, with 2:25 to play before the break.
Brown responded over the final two minutes and closed the gap to single digits thanks to a 7-0 spurt. John Harris buried a three at 1:29 and Stephen Albrecht drilled a long triple to send his team to the locker room down 35-27. The SHU bench scored 18 of the Pioneers 35 first half points led by Glowiak's nine.
The Bears used their end of the half momentum and a strong second half start on four-of-five shooting from behind the arc to grab the lead back eight minutes in. Brown benefited by a pair of four-point plays on back-to-back possessions to fuel a 14-5 four minute spurt. Albrecht buried a three from the right corner and was fouled by Gibson on the play at 18:11. After the made free throw and a Gibson make, Brown came down and got another four-point chance thanks to a Matt Sullivan three and foul on Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ). Sullivan's free throw cut the SHU lead to 41-40 with 15:32 left.
Albrecht put his team back in front 49-48 with a jumper at 12:0-3 and then up three, 54-51, with a three at 10:12. From there it was all Sacred Heart as the Pioneers rattled off an 11-1 run and closed out the game outscoring Brown 26-10 to earn the win. Gibson got the rally started with back-to-back jumpers and Montes drilled his second three at 5:11 for a 62-55 lead. Gibson extended it next time down with a jumper forcing a Brown timeout. Albrecht hit his six three of the day out of the break but SHU left no doubt as Montes got a tip-in, a three-point play and a dunk by Swidowski put the Pioneers up 71-61 with just under two minutes left.
"Our bench made a big difference today. Once they went up three, we knew we had to grind this one out defensively."
Swidowski and sophomore Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) each finished with 10 points complimenting Gibson and Montes. Swidowski and Montes each just missed double doubles with nine rebounds apiece. The Pioneers shot 48.4% (30-62) and turned it over a season-low seven times in the win.
Brown's Albrecht finished with a game-high 23 points, making six-of-12 from behind the arc. The Bears turned it over 12 times leading to 15 points for SHU. The Pioneer bench finished with 31 points to just 10 for Brown.
Sacred Heart will jump into Northeast Conference play with a pair of instate road games at Quinnipiac on Thursday and at Central Connecticut on Saturday. SHU is 4-3 for the first time since 2009-10, when they had their best Division I start at 5-3 that season.